In a matchup of John Caliparri’s finest, All-Star Derrick Rose out performed counterpart John Wall as the Bulls cruised past the Wizards 105 to 77.
Rose toyed with Washington scoring 21 points while distributing 9 assists. He also had plenty of support from those in attendance with chants of “M-V-P!” erupting when he converted a free throw at the end of the first quarter.
“It’s getting crazy on the road but I’m loving it right now. Being able to come into every arena and having fans from everywhere cheering for me is wonderful and I’m so thankful we’re winning,” said Rose after the game.
The mercurial point-guard found teammates Luol Deng (21 pts) and Kyle Korver (11pts) early and often for open jump shots as he caused havoc, penetrating the paint with ease. Rose and Bulls center Joakim Noah also seemed to be getting into the groove that made them a combo that took the NBA by storm during the 2009-2010 season.
In his fourth game since missing two-months with surgery to his thumb, Noah scored 19 points to go with his 11 rebounds. After the game he turned the attention back to Rose and his team’s overall success, before talking about the status of his injured thumb.
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“It’s really exciting playing on a team that is capable of doing something really special. We have to keep improving and understand that we have three huge games coming up. It was a good game today but we just have to think about the next one.” Said Noah. “Personally, I think coming off the injury I still have a ways to go but I feel every game I have been getting better and I’m just happy to be back out on the court.”
The Bulls prized Summer 2010 free-agent, Carlos Boozer had a relatively quiet game with only 12 points, but the Bulls still managed to dominate in the paint outscoring the Wizards 48 to 22. Reserves Kyle Korver, Taj Gibson (4pts, 7 reb, 4 stl) and Omer Asik (8 pts, 7 reb) combined for 20 rebounds off the bench.
Wizards Coach Flip Saunders questioned his team’s ability to react to Chicago’s toughness.
“It was like that first five minutes they were getting every rebound, knocking us all over the place, blocking every one of our shots and so they kind of reached in right from the beginning and took over the physicality of the game.”
The Wizards were out muscled on both ends of the court. Chicago dominated the paint on offense, and also clamped down defensively forcing the Wizards to shoot a lowly 35.6 percent from the field compared to the Bulls’ 48.1 percent. Washington’s three leading scorers (Nick Young, Andray Blatche and John Wall) were held to 9 of 43 from the field.
“They are a tough team to play against. They play hard. They play physical. You know they are not going to give you anything easy. You are supposed to step up to the challenge,” said Young.
After two impressive outings against Dallas and Miami, the Wizards fell far short of stepping up to the challenge against Chicago. The team has now lost 15 of its last 17 games, 12 of those by double-digits.
The Bulls meanwhile move one game behind the Miami Heat for the second best record in the East, and are arguably the NBA’s hottest team behind Noah’s post all-star return and D-Rose’s MVP-worthy play.
Washington, who in their defense has played a grueling schedule over the last few weeks, will have an opportunity to build momentum for the rest of the season with five of their next opponents possessing losing records. The Wizards will face Golden State next, who lost to their following opponent Minnesota 126 to 123 this weekend.